It’s pretty strange to be leaving the station and I don’t think I’m the only one whose feelings are mixed, excited to get back but but already missing life here. In someways it feels like we’ve been here forever and in others like we arrived yesterday. We still have 2 weeks on the ship back to Hobart but some people are staying to over winter and all of our equipment is packed up in containers. It does feel like the end.
Antarctica has been amazing, beautiful and inspiring, photographs really don’t do it justice. Our work out on the ice can at times be hard and a little cold but it never gets old and I never think ‘I’d really rather not go out today’. Moments where I have to pinch myself and think this is actually my job are numerous. This has been my first Antarctic season (I’m hoping it won’t be the last) but I have lived and worked in similar situations before and ultimately it’s always the same.. what makes it are the people (OK and maybe the helicopters). In situations like this you are thrust into each others lives in a way that rarely happens elsewhere. You have to work and play with the same people, help people out, listen to them when they’re down and missing home, put them to be when they’ve over indulged. You get to know people and make firm friendships (or not) far more quickly than you do elsewhere. Joking aside, with little exception everyone will go out of their way to help you in the smallest or largest of ways, has different skills and experiences which can combine to achieve amazing things, is interested and interesting, has an amazing story to tell.
In someways it doesn’t feel like real-life, you don’t have to think about buying food, cooking your dinner, walking the dog. Daily life starts to revolve around mealtimes, the weather and how much beer is left in the bar fridge. Antarctica may be vast but your sphere of interest is largely reduced to a few buildings, a handful of people and some spectacular views. In other ways you are existing at then end of the world, on the least hospitable continent on the planet and it is as real as life can be. This post has turned far more philosophical than intended so I’ll shut up and share more lovely photographs (which I know is what everyone really wants anyway!), so in no particular order….